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[Build][Guide] Mobile as **** Daredevil Thief

thief daredevil elite specialization heart of thorns guide build all teh tags

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#1 Loperdos


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 03:24 AM

Loperdos’ Disclaimer: As I did with all my other guides, I’ll start with my standard disclaimer. I don’t claim to be an expert with thieves, even with my nearly 1000 play time hours on various thieves. I still very much feel that there are a lot of things about the class that I can and will continue to learn. So take that how you will. This is a build/guide for the new EIite spec for the thief, the Daredevil. I don’t claim that this main build is the be all, end all build that everyone should use, but it is the build that I’ve had good luck with so far.

I’m going to present this as the main build type, with some options to use as you continue through and unlock the entire Daredevil line. At the end, I’ll throw in more of a cheese~ish build that may be fun to run, but definitely not high damage or anything like that.

Main Build (Link)

The main concept of the build is to try out the Daredevil, explore the interesting things that it adds to what the thief can do, and emphasize the extremely high mobility that the Daredevil line + Staff offers us.


For this main build, I pick up a Berserker/Marauders (Marauders if it’s the Exotic Staff you pick up when you first unlock the DD line, Berserkers otherwise) Staff and a set of Berserkers Daggers. I throw a Sigil of Energy on both the Staff and the D/D setup, which is mostly flavor if you want an insane amount of dodges on top of the insane amount of dodges/evades that the DD thief already has at their disposal. The other Sig is a Bloodlust Sig on the Staff - this being because we use it mostly in AoE situations, thus making it better for stacking - and whatever added damage Sig one would choose in the other Dagger slot, be it another Bloodlust, Air, Fire, Force, Night, or whatever else is out there for added damage.

If you don’t decide to take the Sigil of Energy, it’s more than ok to just pick up whatever pair of damaging Sigils that you prefer, I’m just currently running with the Energy Sigils.

Options: Weapons are largely the same whether or not you have the full DD line unlocked or not. I kicked around the idea of running a double Staff build to help increase my want to swap weapons to take advantage of the Sig of Energy (or whatever other weap swap sigil you decide to put in there) but found that even with my Staff and D/D setup, I was switching between the two basically on cooldown for various situations, so it didn’t make sense to run with two Staffs. Thus the D/D is my other chosen set.


Critical Strikes
Here’s our bread and butter damage line for basically any thief build, so we definitely want to pick up this trait line, as it's gotten some pretty sizable boosts not too long ago. A go-to pick on any direct damage oriented thief build.

Trait 1: With this trait slot, it really comes down to one of two choices. Side Strikes or Flawless Strike. With the sheer amount of evades and dodges, staying above 90% HP is not really too much of an issue, so Flawless Strike is a nice boost to damage. Side Strikes is a good alternative, less so for the Staff because you are going to be AoEing like crazy with it, but definitely useful when you swap out to the D/D set. Signets of Power isn’t worth it on this build since we only use one Signet on our utility bar, and generally only use it in emergency situations.

Trait 2: With our second trait slot, it again comes down to one of two choices. Sundering Strikes or Practiced Tolerance. Sundering Strikes is nice for soloing due to the fact that we have a high crit rate, the lack of ICD on it, and that vuln helps out loads. This would be a good pick if you are running with a group that lacks effective and consistent Vuln stacking ability. Practiced Tolerance is another trait that is a good one, especially since they changed it from gaining Vitality based off your Precision to gaining Ferocity based off your Precision. We have a pretty high crit rate, so again, it will benefit our overall damage to take Practiced Tolerance. I can’t say for sure due to not running the numbers lately, so I’m not 100% about which one is a more consistent increase to damage, but my gut tells me that its probably Practiced Tolerance due to it not being a “chance-on-hit” effect and a straight up increase to damage. But it is a selfish trait. Ankle Shots is not one we take for (hopefully) obvious reasons - no pistols, no point.

Trait 3: Pretty straight forward choice here, especially in conjunction with our Runes of Rage on our armor, we pick up No Quarter. I really like this trait. A lot. Thieves finally have a good and consistent access to Fury, which makes us a lot more consistent as a high DPS class. It pairs beautifully with the minor trait Unrelenting Strikes which grants us Fury when we hit an enemy who is below a certain threshold of HP. Invigorating Precision is another possibility if you are having trouble surviving, but you lose quite a bit of damage from taking it. Hidden Killer is a no because we don’t have easy access to stealth on our Staff (unless you run the variation build below, which does not utilize the CS line at all) and our crit chance is high enough for us not having to worry when we swap to our D/D set.

This line grants us better Steal capabilities, which increases our mobility and gives us a nice damage bonus when we use our auto-attack on the Staff. This is one of the lines that we will see some differences in trait picks depending on whether or not you have unlocked the entire DD line or not.

Trait 1: In this slot, I generally take Thrill of the Crime (TotC). With the reduced CD from the minor trait Lead Attacks as well as the grandmaster trait Sleight of Hand, the uptime on the boons from TotC isn’t half bad. The Fury is a nice addition to our good access to Fury, the Might is decent because its only 1 stack, and the Swiftness isn’t something I would ever turn down, especially on a build that is attempting to emphasize mobility. I will occasionally swap out to Uncatchable if I know I’m going to be fighting a mess of Husks in the new HoT areas because it helps lock them down, applies some bleeds and makes my life generally easier. At first glance, Flanking Strikes looks really nice, until you see the internal cool-down (ICD) on it. 60s. That is a BRUTALLY long time, so I don’t like it and rarely take it.

Trait 2: In this slot I take Bountiful Theft. Even with the nerf to boon-stealing, it is still a good trait to pick up, especially with the 10s of Vigor that it drops on your face. Pair this with a super-short CD on Steal, and you’ve got about 50% uptime on that particular application of Vigor, with no real investment to you. Pressure Striking is a decent trait, but it seems more geared towards sPvP or WvW, rather than PvE due to mobs attacking slower than people. That and this is a direct damage build, not a conD build, so adding Torment doesn’t help us much.
Alternate Options: Here’s where I run into a difference between having the full DD line unlocked and not. When running without the full DD line, I generally pick up Trickster here because rather than running with Channeled Vigor (Physical Heal Skill), Bandit’s Defense (Physical Utility Skill) and Fist Flurry (Physical Utility Skill), I end up running Withdraw and Roll for Initiative - both being categorized as Tricks and taking full advantage of the Trickster trait.

Trait 3: Sleight of Hand is the choice that I usually pick up due to both the Daze on Steal and the CD reduc on Steal. It synergizes with the build overall due to the endurance regen that we get from Stealing in the DD line (one of the minor traits). Quick Pockets could work as well if you are struggling with init management, but would probably be more effective on a double Staff build, rather than on the Staff + D/D combo that this particular build uses. Bewildering Ambush is better now that Confusion has both a damage tick as well as a damage on activated skill, making it a bit more useful in a PvE situation, but again, this is a direct damage build, so adding a condition isn’t really that helpful.

All the fun comes into play when running with this line. It enables us to use the Staff in this build, as well as opening up a lot of different possible approaches to a high damage, highly mobile setup.

Trait 1: It appears that gw2skills is not fully updated, since the top Adept level trait no longer increases damage when endurance isn’t full by 10%. It is now Havoc Mastery, which increases damage by 7% when mobs are within 360 range of you. It’s a solid choice for some increased damage, mainly because we rarely are actually using ranged attacks on this build, mostly because we are running with a Staff and a D/D set, both of which are melee. Weakening Strikes is a decent choice, but it does reduce your overall damage output. May be a good choice if you are running with a group that is having lots of trouble dying, but if you are running a DD build, you will probably have enough survivability through your active defenses (dodges, evades, etc) that Weakening Strikes may not be the best choice.
Alternate Option: When you have the full DD line unlocked and have access to the physical skills, Brawler’s Tenacity is a good pickup. It doesn’t do anything to add damage, but the utility of it is quite good. Between the reduced CD on Physical Skills (including your heal, if you are using the Physical heal) and the endurance gain on Physical skill use (albeit not a huge amount), the utility you gain from this pick is pretty decent.

Trait 2: Since we are using the Staff, Staff Master is the way to go. Added damage, some minor endurance gain off of init use, all around a good choice. Escapist’s Absolution is nice if you are running into issues with a lot of conditions dropped on your face, like you do from time to time in the HoT areas, but the last trait, Impacting Disruption, is one that again seems to be more of a PvP/WvW trait pick, so not really one that works well with this PvE build.

Trait 3: This one is a bit more up to change depending on what the circumstance needs. Any of them are viable picks, but I generally go with Bounding Dodger. The additional thing that the tooltip from gw2skills that does not have is that when you dodge using this trait, you gain 10% damage for 4s afterward. The other two traits also have additional buffs on them for 4s after you dodge. Unhindered Combatant grants a -10% reduction to both damage types (direct and condition) and Lotus Training grants a 10% buff to condition damage for 4s. Lotus Training has less use on this build, just due to the fact that it is more for a condition focused build.

Heal/Utility Slots

Not going to delve too deeply into these, except to point out some variations to use while still working on unlocking the entire DD line.

Channeled Vigor: This is a fun heal, lots of heals to it, gives endurance back if you are low, and an overall, all-around solid heal. Paired with the CD reduce on Physical skills, it’s on a pretty damn low CD as well, so you usually won’t find yourself lacking for heals.
Alternate Option: Withdraw: This is a good one to use before you unlock all the rest of the DD line. Since you are already invested in the Trickery line, you can pick up a few things to buff this particular heal, adding a conD removal on it as well as reduced CD.

Signet of Agility: Not really any question about this one, as it’s a staple on any damage build. Adds precision while unactivated, and has a nice quick conD removal and endurance boost to it for when you get yourself in trouble. I would suggest only activating it when you are in dire need of a conD clear or some additional evades.
Bandit’s Defense: Another really nice thing to have is an active block, which is what this utility fulfills for us quite nicely. The knockdown is pretty killer as well. It can sometimes be a bit tricky to use, but I find it to be a welcome addition to the utility bar.
Fist Flurry: Lots of added damage on this attack, can sometimes be a bit tricky to land all the hits so you get access to Palm Strike, but if you land the entire chain, the damage is pretty impressive.
Alternate Option: Roll for Initiative: A good alternative to use in one of your utility slots before you finish unlocking all the Physical skills. With the trait in Trickery, it's a conD removal as well, plus its built in evade, stun break and init regain.

Alternate Cheese Build (Link)

This build won’t have the damage output that the above build has, but it’s a very amusing build to play. You can run the gear the same as the above build, but you may want to swap out the Rage Runes for something else, since you won’t be running the CS line, and won’t have much access to Fury as a result. The focus of this build is accessing stealth the best we can while using Staff, and focusing on using the stealth attack on Staff #1 for its ridiculous knockdown.


Only real change here is that you swap out the Critical Strikes line and swap in the Shadow Arts line. Unfortunately, the Shadow Arts line took a hit to it’s usefulness a while back when they re-did a lot of the trait lines. Shadow Arts has never really been a damage focused line to begin with, but with those changes, it really is anything but a damage focused line. Fortunately for this build, we don’t use it as such.

Trait 1: While I like the idea of Shadow’s Embrace for this pick, since we are using a full slate of Deception utilities, it makes more sense to pick up Concealed Defeat. Less so for the smoke screen on down, and more so for the Deception skill CD reduc.

Trait 2: For what we are trying to do, we pick up Hidden Thief for stealth on Steal. Combined with the Trickery line and a reduced CD on Steal, this becomes one of the ways we access stealth. The other two traits here aren’t useful for this build.

Trait 3: Here in our Grandmaster slot, we don’t really have an option that directly benefits the build, so we pick up the next best choice, Shadow’s Rejuvenation. I could see value in picking up Cloaked in Shadow because of the Blind application, but I don’t think it would be that great of a choice either.

Heal/Utility Slots

WIth our focus of getting into stealth as often as possible, there are only a few choices that really make sense for this particular type of build.

Hide in Shadow: Access to stealth, relatively quick activation, medium length CD, pretty decent heal, it is THE pick for this build.

Smoke Screen: This is the only real required utility for this build, since it gives you a nice smoke field to use a Leap finisher through (Vault, #5 Staff skill) to access stealth from. It’s a relatively long field on a medium length CD. If you time it correctly, you can access stealth a few times from it before it fades.
Blinding Powder: Another decent access to stealth, and also a blast finisher. Little bit longer CD on it, so not AS useful, but the blind application is helpful as well.
iHouse (Shadow Refuge): Another possibility, though these last two slots are largely flavor, and dependent on whether or not when you play the build, you feel that you have enough access to stealth. If you use your rotation of Smoke Screen + Leaps, Steal and other ways to access and constantly find yourself not using one or the other of your remaining utilities, then swap them out. If you find yourself short on stealth access, definitely pick these up, as they will benefit from the Deception CD reduc.

And there you have it! Two build variations for the thief Elite spec, the Daredevil. Like I mentioned, I’m currently running the top build and having quite a bit of fun with it. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep moving, even if you are just hitting things with your AA...it’ll keep you alive more than you know. Any questions, comments, trolling, or anything else out there, feel free to post here, or add me in-game; Loperdos.7924 and I would be happy to answer any questions about this particular build, or thieves in general!

Edited by Loperdos, 07 November 2015 - 03:30 AM.

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#2 Ship Soo

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 12:29 AM

Nice build

Going to have to try it out, now that I'm back.

Edit: Played a few hours with this setup. Staff ,DD is awesome....so much fun

Edited by Ship Soo, 05 December 2016 - 12:44 AM.

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#3 Thorfinnr


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Posted 07 December 2016 - 07:14 PM

Good to see some activity again.


I'll have to try this out...I been thinking of doing a human-thief and going full ninja with him...and staff-d/d seems like a good fit.


What's your typical staff rotation? I haven't played it too much, but I seem to get good results with 4-5-2-3.


Also, what do you think about using one of the "Daggers" utility skills we get from DD? I could see Distracting Daggers possibly working in this for the multiple interrupts and skill-delay on targets, but always good to hear another perspective...pro or con. Impairing I could see if you somehow could focus it on condi...without losing too much of the functionality of the build itself...which I can see could be tough.


I've missed our theory-crafting on here...:)


Did I mention its good to see you guys back? lol

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#4 Ship Soo

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 11:31 PM

Well, I'm back and enjoying my Thief very much.

Staff, DD is what I'm running. I don't have all the daredevil unlocked yet, so I'll just focus on what I've seen.

I usually lead with staff 5, to get the bonus damage from lower initiative and get a nice area effect. I do a lot of 1,1,1, with dodges thrown in ( I use caltrops on dodge trait...so good). I find staff 3 to be very useful, frees up a skill slot for palm strike and the blocking skill. Skill 2 with weakness is useful to ( I almost never use staff 4)

I switch to DD if it gets down to a single target or I feel like backstab with be beneficial. Same with death blossom in a fire field.

Against single target champions/ veterans....I'm basically unkillable. So much endurance, blocks, evasion....it's fun.

I'll have to post more when I have the daredevil all unlocked
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